The generous spirit of Christmas encourages alike in Christians and those of other faiths and no faith a determination to be kindly. And this venal Government's policies seem even crueller when viewed by the lights of the Christmas tree.
If it were possible to have a Christmas wish, mine would be to read no more headlines such as "Benefits cuts to hit disabled" (16 December), summing up as it does the Conservatives' unique blend of cluelessness and spitefulness, coupled with the Liberal Democrats' eagerness for power at any price, even the cost of their once-professed principles.
If it were then possible to have a new year wish, mine would be to see this unprincipled coalition unravel before May 2015, thereby putting an end to the damage ruthlessly inflicted on those least able to fend for themselves – the sick, the poor, the disappointed, the dispossessed and the fallible.
The food banks to which The Independent on Sunday has often drawn attention are one of the country's few boom stories. And that tells us all we need to know about a government whose members, as they sit down for the biggest blowout of the year, would rather see their country's people go hungry than admit that its policies are misguided and cruel.
St Albans, Hertfordshire
The United States needs to examine its culture and the mindset with which it raises its sons ("Too many guns, too little will to change", 16 December). Young American men appear to be growing up full of hatred and anger. Why is this?
Maybe it is the wholesale lack of compassion which runs through American society. Money is worshipped, violence is venerated, state murder is sanctioned, and the government leads by example.
I wonder if gun control will help much. Under any conceivable new laws, Americans will still find it pretty easy to buy guns of some kind.
And I wonder if, ultimately, guns are the problem. America is a very violent society – a high murder rate, a society that glories in masculine violence as the solution to problems, a state that kills its prisoners, a state that licenses assassination of anyone the President thinks is better off dead, a style of war-making that relies on overwhelming and indiscriminate use of firepower and neglects building relationships with local civilians. Guns may be a symptom, but not the cause.
Imagine a boarding school where the staff leave at 4pm every Friday and return at 9am every Monday. Parents are informed that the catering staff feed the children and that there is ChildLine for emergencies. This is how our hospitals are run.
At a large Bristol hospital, the staff car park is closed at the weekend. Doctors "can be bleeped". Indeed. But they may take hours to attend.
Last Christmas, in the acute stroke unit at another hospital in Bristol, there were no doctors, physiotherapists or occupational therapists on the ward for four days – a weekend, followed by Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Frenetic activity ensued for three days until New Year and a weekend ensured that there were four more days of nothing therapeutic. A visit to the unit had echoes of the Marie Celeste. And this in an acute unit.
Is Nick Duerden really sure ("End of the trail for Sarah Lund and 'The Killing', 16 December)? There seems to me more than enough loose ends and even an exhortation to Lund (I paraphrase) to "come back and prove you know the child-murderer", to advocate caution. I wouldn't bet against a follow-up in a year or so.
Bury St Edmunds
Well said, Katy Guest, sticking up for those of us who live alone ("Who cares about hard-working singles?", 16 December). Politicians do seem obsessed with the family, forgetting that single people face the same bills, but with only one person to pay them. What's more, not having children means we're less of a burden on the public purse.
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